High reliable diode laser pump modules are essential for free-space optical telecommunications. Besides the reliability, low mass and small dimensions, radiation-hardness and low power-consumption are requirements to be met for space applications. A diode laser module suited for pumping Nd:YAG lasers for optical intersatellite links has been developed.
The module consists of two diode laser bars overlaid by a polarization beam splitter to increase the system’s reliability. Each diode laser bar consists of six emitters. If the integrated photodiode detects the failure of one bar, the second, substitute bar is switched on and can fully sustain all module functions. To equalize the beam quality of the diode laser bar, a pair of micro step mirrors is used for each bar. The laser beam is focussed on the entrance of a d=200 μm, NA=0.22 fiber. Both the coupling efficiency and the accuracy of the mounting of the diode laser components have been analyzed by raytracing.
Passive cooling has been chosen because liquid chilling systems are unsuitable for space applications. To evaluate the effects of different heat sink materials and to predict the temperature drop over the module, a 3D finite element analysis for the steady-state temperature distribution of the module has been performed.
The optical output power of the module described above amounts to 2,8 W with one bar operating derated to 0.5x maximum current, and the whole unit fits in a housing of 78 x 50 x 24 mm. Further developments will lead to a more compact design and a smaller fiber diameter.